Ahead of Sunday’s BAFTAs, 190 actresses and 160 activists joined forces to launch the Justice and Equality Fund to help those who’ve faced sexual harassment in the workplace, which included a £1 million ($1,400,380) donation from Emma Watson to kick off the campaign.
Similar to the Time’s Up initiative in the U.S., the Justice and Equality Fund aims to advise women so that they know their rights, provide aid on legal cases, and advocate for safe work environments. With funds managed by Rosa—which works to support U.K. initiatives set up for girls and women—the Justice and Equality Fund looks to especially help those who would otherwise not have the means or funds to address these issues on their own.
The women involved in the initiative—which encompassed U.K. and Irish actresses, academics, and activists—unveiled the new fund in an open letter published Saturday night in the Observer, a vertical in the Guardian. In the letter, the actresses acknowledged the strides that the U.S.’s Time’s Up initiative has made in the wake of Hollywood’s reckoning with systematic sexual harassment but strived to make the push for change an international movement.
“As we approach the Baftas—our industry’s time for celebration and acknowledgment, we hope we can celebrate this tremendous moment of solidarity and unity across borders by coming together and making this movement international,” the actresses wrote. “Perhaps Time’s Up seems a million miles away to you—started by a group of women with privilege. The truth is, we are all workers, and whether we’re in the limelight or in the shadows, our voices matter. With our collective power, we can galvanize others.”
We are bringing it home to the UK! @timesupnow
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) February 18, 2018
Many of the actresses attending the BAFTAs in London Sunday night wore black in solidarity.
The activists’ letter addresses the kinds of sexual harassment long faced by women, along with what they can achieve by working alongside actresses and asking those who want to help to donate to the Justice and Equality Fund.
“As activists, we welcome the call from our entertainment industry sisters to unite to call TIME on harassment and abuse,” the second letter read. “We recognise that every woman, everywhere, who has ever spoken out has been part of creating change, even when she has not been believed. We know that these conversations are not new, and that these stories are not exceptional, but the women in the entertainment industry that have spoken out have helped to push issues such as sexual harassment and rape into the public consciousness in an unprecedented way.”